[updated] Obama's townhall is Montana

I just finished watching Obama's townhall in Montana. It was informative in what was said explicitly and what was implied. Again this is my personal opinion and I am sure many people will dissect it over the period of a the next few days.

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[updated x2] Required reading: Paul Krugman rips Obama's bipartisanship meme

Once again I was and never am big on bipartisanship and high Broderism. Bipartisanship works when you have honest partners, not some manipulative lunatics who see the defeat of a marquee and much needed legislation as a way back to power. Pursuit of bipartisanship today is self-defeating and to quote Howard Dean "The earlier the White House realizes it's negotiating against itself, the quicker it can produce a bill that better satisfies the people who actually got the president elected."
But on to Krugman:

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[Update x 4] If you are not OUTRAGED you are not paying attention

The New York Times informs us of yet another nail in the coffin of comprehensive health care reform. At this rate the house HR 3200, the bill that we have been fighting for is doomed. It will not be affordable with all the back door deals being done with the pharmaceutical industry and now the hospital lobby. So what remains is a shell of the public plan and affordable health care reform. Here goes read it:

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Lowering the bar on health care reform?

I have been discussing health care reform with a number of people from all across the political spectrum. Most of the people I meet are really not very well informed about what is being proposed by the administration. While quite a few like the idea of a government plan and ability to have secure and affordable health insurance, there is also a significant number who have come to believe the rampant disinformation and are frankly scared; for them it is the fear of the unknown. They want to know how will the new bill affect them, will their  taxes go up and finally will the administration deliver everything that they are saying.

At the same time I have engaged a number of Republicans who are spreading this disinformation. The overarching discussion now is based on the HR 3200 bill from the House Energy and Commerce Committee. The disinformation regarding this bill can be debunked quite easily, but then these guys pull the final card "all that is fine but you know this bill will never become law, Obama has already said that he is willing to forgo a large government plan". To this point I have no answer. Because really I do not know what direction the final health care bill will take.

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She speaks, she speaks!!!!

I always wondered why dimwitted demagogues open their mouths and talk about things that are way too complex and beyond their comprehension. But a dimwitted demagogue will say any old thing just to stay in the news; and as far as dimwitted demagogues go Sarah Palin never disappoints.

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[Updated] The embarrassment of being Timothy Geithner

Why doesn't someone get rid of him? Seriously. He is a running joke. His close ties with Wall Street are legendary and everyone knows that Citibank is still solvent today, when it should have been history long ago, is because of the repeated largess of Timothy Geithner.

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Being sold out for a dime

Well 3 Republican votes, that too with a big IF at the beginning. Buried in the NY Times article is this fascinating nugget:

On the other side of the Capitol, a half-dozen members of the Senate Finance Committee reported further progress toward a possible bipartisan compromise, which includes creation of a new federal panel to hold down Medicare costs, particularly payments to hospitals and other health care providers.

But some liberal Democrats, like Senators John D. Rockefeller IV of West Virginia and Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, expressed reservations about concessions being made by Democrats to keep a few Republicans on board.

Mr. Rockefeller said he was unhappy that the legislation would end the Children's Health Insurance Program and could reduce the scope of benefits for 11 million children in the program.

Asked if he would support the bill, Mr. Rockefeller shot back a somber, stony look. "Can't you see the joy on my face?" he asked.

Oh yeah and Mike Enzi (R-Wyoming) wants assurance that none of these compromises will be ditched and only then he will think of voting for this bill.

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Self-inflicted wounds

If I can look President Obama in his eyes and say "told you so" I would gladly do it. Unfortunately the way the poll numbers are showing up against the Obama plan for health care, it will only be a Pyrrhic victory. I was and still am for meaningful health care reform. But I watched with slack-jawed amazement how the administration basically washed its hands from any leadership role in this process and now when the reform ship is in the doldrums and about to sink, the President steps in to try and salvage his plan.

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Health Care Reform In Jeopardy....Again

Things don't look good and frankly it never did. Last month my sister was visiting me and she let me in on a little secret that is not discussed outside the beltway: the consensus health care reform that is being put forward by this administration is based on the Massachusetts plan, the thinking being that the plan will get some traction from Republicans. Except anyone who knows that plan will tell you that it is a failure, it does nothing to cut costs, it burdens people with private insurance and eventually the State had to cut back its role in lieu of the astronomical price increases and the economic meltdown. She did say that the best option will be a public plan but realistically she did not see that happening because the insurance industry will not allow it. She is in the process of writing a policy paper on the health care issue with other advisers to the President at the Harvard Law School.

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Murder In Tehran (Warning: NOT FOR THE FAINT OF HEART)

Once again, the video here is disturbing so please don't watch if you are wary of violence. This is shocking and disturbing.



We cannot do much but we can let the world know. Please assist me and make this video viral. Google bomb it. Post it on Facebook and other social networking sites. But the world must know.

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Diaries

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